Thursday, October 30, 2014

We must submit our experiences to the scriptures

From time-to-time we all fall prey to the "but as for me..." syndrome. Even the psalmist Asaph was not immune to its lure. "Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart! But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, my steps had almost slipped." (Psalm 73:1-2) Surely God is good to all who love Him and call upon His name, but as for me... We acknowledge the goodness and faithfulness of God for everyone else, but doubt it when it comes to our own lives. God is good to other people but my experiences and circumstances cause be to wonder if maybe He has forgotten my name and has lost sight of the plight I'm currently in. It's not that we do not know the truth, but the truth gets lost in the blinding light of our present everyday struggles and difficulties. At times like these, we often trade the truth of God's word in our lives for our present experience.

If we are to grow in the scriptures then we must learn to elevate them above our experience and to submit our circumstances to its truth. God's Word carries weight. David spoke of God's Word saying, "I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above all Your name." (Psalm 138:2 NKJV) God has exalted His Word even above His name. When God speaks something, He means it. We have all heard people say, "My word is my bond." For God, this is especially true. Everything He says, He means and everything He says He will do, He will do. God told Jeremiah, "You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it." (Jeremiah 1:12) God is so concerned about His word that He is ever watching over it to perform it lest one jot or tittle of it should go unfulfilled. When God says something we can believe it, even if our circumstances lie against the truth. This trust in God and His word is at the center of our faith in God. Consider what is written of Abraham, our father according to the faith,
"Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah's womb; yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore it was also credited to him as righteousness." (Romans 4:19-22
Abraham believed God even when his circumstances told him to doubt!

There are two ways we can submit our circumstances to the word of God. First is to place our faith and obedience it God's word over the demands of our circumstances. "And after He [Jesus] had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, 'It is written, "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God."'" (Matthew 4:2-4) Jesus was hungry yet He did not submit Himself to His carnal desires and passions, rather He submitted Himself to the will and word of God. Even though His body told Him to do one thing, He still knew what God required of Him and He remained obedient to God's will. There are times we just want to get angry or we want to withdraw and feel sorry for ourselves, but it's times like these that we must press into God and remain faithful to His word and His commands for our lives. We must say "No!" to our flesh and "Yes" to God. We must not let our circumstances dictate our behavior, rather we must submit in unyielding obedience to God;s word.

Secondly, we submit our experiences to God's word when we prefer His word to our experiences. "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him." (Acts 8:35) Philip did not preach himself or his experiences, but from the scriptures he preached Jesus to his traveling companion. Paul had a similar commitment to the scriptures over his experiences, "For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord." (2 Corinthians 4:5) There are many people going around preaching about all the wonderful things they are doing, or that God is doing through them, and, while this may be all well and good, there is little preaching of Christ from the scriptures. Our experiences may be wonderful and even supernatural, but what people need, what they can trust and depend on, is God's word. When, in our preaching and conversations, we prefer our experiences to God's word then we are communicating something that is changeable, unreliable, and that lacks the power to change people's lives. Let us return to preferring God, His Word, and His Scriptures to our experiences.

David Robison

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